Anders Nes

Strong Phenomenal Intentionality versus the Holism of Non-Demonstrative Inference

Diverse contemporary philosophers of mind follow Brentano in affirming a close connection between intentionality and consciousness. An influential subset of such philosophers, including such naturalists as Tye, Dretske, and Lycan, seek to explain (phenomenal) consciousness in terms of notions of intentionality they see as prior to, and independent of, consciousness. However, recently, a converse (and surely more Brentanian) approach has been gathering steam, according to which the notion of intentionality is at least coeval with that of consciousness, an approach lately dubbed the ‘Phenomenal Intentionality Research Programme’ (Krigel forthcoming) What I term ‘Strong Phenomenal Intentionality’ (SPI) holds all intentional states to be phenomenally conscious (a view defended by Georgalis 2006 and Strawson 2008), or, if they are not phenomenally conscious, to exemplify ‘second-class’ forms of intentionality, in that they are interpretation-dependent (Kriegel 2011), somehow inferential shadows of phenomenal states (Horgan and Graham forthcoming), or derivative in some other way upon phenomenal states. (See Kriegel forthcoming: 19-20 for discussion). SPI, I shall argue, confronts a challenge over the holistic character of non-demonstrative inference. The reasonability of most of our inferences, in both theoretical and practical reasoning, depends on vast tracts of background knowledge, or background assumptions. This is brought out in what Carnap (1950), Hempel (1960), and most subsequent theorists of non-deductive reasoning have accepted under the name of the ‘Requirement of Total Evidence’ (RTE). As T. Kelly (2006) recently has put it: “In order to be justified in believing some proposition then, it is not enough that that proposition be well-supported by some proper subset of one´s total evidence; rather, what is relevant is how well-supported the proposition is by one´s total evidence.” Fodor´s (1983) discussion of the holistic, apparently unencapsulated nature of belief fixation touches on closely related themes. On plausible assumptions about what it takes for some evidence to be available to some subject (and so be part of her total evidence), SPI in conjunction with RTE implies that the reasonability of a non-demonstrative inference is relative, at most, to the totality of the phenomenally conscious states of the subject, or, in so far as there are exceptions to this, that these exceptions are due to second-class intentional states. This implication, I argue, is not plausible. The reasonability of our non-demonstrative inferences pervasively depends on vast stocks of knowledge or belief that is merely preconscious, in the Freudian sense, or access but not phenomenally conscious, in Block’s (1995).

For example, suppose I´m walking past a café in Salzburg, and decide to walk in and order a cappuccino. In making this decision, I assumed the café had a floor to walk on, that it serves cappuccinos safe for human consumption, that the people behind the counter would treat me with a minimum of respect and so, e.g., not attack me but serve me, etc. etc. If I didn’t assume this, my forming of this intention would be quite unreasonable. However, it is not plausible to think that all of these assumptions somehow figured in my overall, occurrent phenomenally conscious state of mind at the time prior to entering. It might well be that, what was occupying my conscious awareness prior to forming my decision, were thoughts of the pleasures and benefits of getting a cappuccino, of the attractive woodwork on the walls and ceiling (as seen though the windows), some hopeful musings that some members of Camerata Salzburg (of which I´m a fan) surely must be regulars at a place like this, and some other vague reflections related to my touristy, stereotyped conception of Salzburg. If asked ’what was your mind´ immediately after making my decision, these are the things that would spring to my self-awareness. True, if asked ´Did you assume this café to have a floor safe to walk on?’ I would naturally reply ´Yes, of course´. But my grounds for affirming this question would be different in kind from my grounds for affirming ´Were you supposing this place would be quite likely to be frequented by members of the Camerata?’ The latter I could affirm because of some sort of vivid memory; the question about my assumption about the floor, in constrast, I answer in some different way. Drawing on Bretano´s (1874/1973: 22-27) discussion of ´inner perception´ and its relation to memory, I argue this is evidence that my background assumptions about the floor etc. (in contrast to my thoughts about the woodwork, the Camerata, etc.) are not phenomenal states.

These considerations do not, as they stand, disprove the more qualified form of SPI according to which I do have the alleged, non-phenomenal background assumptions, but that these are somehow second-class examples of intentionality. I end by arguing against some versions of this qualified form of SPI, notably the construal of such states as interpretation-dependent, proposed by Kriegel (2011). I note that this view has the implication that the reasonability of my (phenomenally conscious) decision to visit the cafe is also an interpretation-dependent matter. If so, the power of this phenomenal state to make other intentional states reasonable – for example, leading me to form a decision to find the entrance – is also interpretation-dependent. These implications are not attractive, I argue. Moreover, at least some of the non-phenomenal background assumptions play as causal role in making me form the relevant intention, and do so in a content-sensitive way. By appeal to the classical Cartesian idea that there can be no less reality in the cause than in the effect, I conclude we should not take an interpretationist – and so, in broad terms, a projectivist – view of such non-phenomenal states, if we do not take if of such phenomenally conscious intentional states as my decision to visit the cafe. Brentano, F. (1874/1973) Psychology from Empirical Standpoint . Edited by O. Kraus. English edition L. L. McAlister, ed. Translated by A. C. Rancurello, D. B. Terrell, and L. L. McAlister. Routledge. Carnap, R. (1950) The Logical Foundations of Probability. Chicago University Press. Georgalis , N . (2006) The Primacy of the Subjective . Cambridge MA : MIT Press . Hempel, C. (1960). “Inductive Inconsistencies”, Synthese 12: 439-469. Horgan , T . and G. Graham Forthcoming . “Phenomenal Intentionality and Content Determinacy.” In R. Schantz , Prospects for Meaning . Amsterdam : de Gruyter. Kriegel, U. (2011) The Sources of Intentionality. OUP. Kriegel, U. (forthcoming) "The Phenomenal Intentionality Research Program", Phenomenal Intentionality: New Essays, OUP. Accessed from <http://uriahkriegel.com/downloads/PIRP.pdf>, 1.12.2012 Strawson , G . 2008 . “Real Intentionality 3: Why Intentionality Entails Consciousness.” In his Real Materialism and Other Essays . OUP.

  • ENGLISH English
  • News
    In Zeiten fehlender Zuschauer in den heimischen Fußballstadien sind in TV-Übertragungen teils tiefe akustische Einsichten in das Innenleben von Trainern und Co mangels Geräuschkulisse klar vernehmbar. Trotzdem haben emotionale Ausbrüche und Streit in den coronabedingten "Geisterspielen" bei Spielern und Betreuern insgesamt messbar abgenommen, errechneten Salzburger Forscher am Beispiel von Spielen des FC Red Bull Salzburg. Im Gegensatz dazu fielen österreichweit mehr Tore.
    Videoaufzeichnung der Veranstaltung mit einem Vortrag von Univ.-Prof. Dr. Reinhard Klaushofer, Fachbereich Öffentliches Recht, Völker- und Europarecht (ab 1h33min).
    Herausforderungen, Prozesse und Ambivalenzen - Schriftenreihe der ÖFEB-Sektion Sozialpädagogik, Band 6
    Am Mittwoch, den 17. März 2021 veranstaltet die PLUS einen virtuellen Tag der offenen Tür und lädt interessierte Schülerinnen und Schüler der Abschlussklassen herzlich ein. Alle Informationen dazu finden sich online unter www.uni-salzburg.at/openday.
    Daran interessiert, Lehrer*in zu werden? Informiere dich am virtuellen Tag der offenen Tür der Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg zu deinem Lehramtsstudium in Salzburg!
    Die Rechtsakademie an der Universität Salzburg bietet im Jänner 2021 drei Online-Seminare zu den Themen Update Wettbewerbsrecht (Kartellrecht und UWG) am Freitag, 15.1.2021, Update GmbH-Recht am Freitag, 22.1.2021 und Update Gewährleistungsrecht am Freitag, 29.1.2021, an.
    Soeben ist die neue Ausgabe der Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie online erschienen, die – am Puls der Zeit - auch dem einen Thema Rechnung trägt, das uns derzeit prägt wie kein anderes: die Corona-Pandemie. Ihr ist einer der beiden Schwerpunkte der Ausgabe gewidmet; in seinem beachtlichen Umfang spiegelt sich nicht nur die Wichtigkeit dieses Themas, sondern auch das große Bedürfnis, die vielfältigen Folgen dieser Pandemie philosophisch und ethisch zu reflektieren.
    Mit dem PLUS Talk wurde bereits 2020 ein neues Kommunikationsformat der Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg eingeführt. Im Rahmen dieses Formats treten Mitglieder des Rektorats zu bestimmten Schwerpunktthemen mit Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern der PLUS, Studierenden und Vertreterinnen und Vertretern der Öffentlichkeit in Diskurs. Die Diskussionen finden LIVE statt und bieten Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern die Möglichkeit, zu aktuellen Themen Fragen zu stellen.
    Nach Austausch mit dem Ministerium und in intensiver Beratung mit den Dekanen hat das Rektorat der Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg entschieden Prüfungen derzeit grundsätzlich nur mehr online durchzuführen. Dazu gelten folgende Punkte:
    Dialog und Befreiung in einer digitalen Zukunft - Ort und Zeit: Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg; 14.–16. Oktober 2021 - Ansprechpartner: markus.maier@stud.sbg.ac.at
    INTERDISZIPLINÄRE TAGUNG unter der Leitung von Reinhard Heinisch, Reinhard Klaushofer, Christoph Kühberger und Margit Reiter
    10h /Online-Matinee mit Vortrag und Gespräch aus der Reihe „Artes“ mit Robert Brennan und Wolf-Dietrich Löhr.
    Im Rahmen der Reihe „MUSIK & MEDIZIN“ organisiert der Kooperationsschwerpunkt Wissenschaft und Kunst am 27. Jänner 2021 einen weiteren Online-Vortrag:
    Im Rahmen der Reihe „MUSIK & MEDIZIN“ organisiert der Kooperationsschwerpunkt Wissenschaft und Kunst am 3. Februar 2021 einen weiteren Online-Vortrag:
    Das Land Salzburg schreibt in Abstimmung mit der Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg das neue Förderprogramm Digital Humanities aus. Unterstützt werden neue, innovative Forschungsvorhaben aus dem GSK-Bereich mit interdisziplinärer Ausrichtung, die sich mit dem Einsatz digitaler Technologien auseinandersetzen.
  • Veranstaltungen
  • 27.01.21 Music, Entrainment and the Mind–Body Connection: Implications for Health and Physical Activity
    28.01.21 Making Art Modern? Views from the Italian Renaissance.
    28.01.21 Kunstgeschichte und Umweltgeschichte im Dialog. Die Darstellung von Wald und Bäumen bei Albrecht Altdorfer und Wolf Huber
    28.01.21 Performing under pressure: Mechanisms and interventions.
  • Alumni Club
  • PRESSE
  • VERANSTALTUNGSRÄUME
  • STELLENMARKT
  • Impressum
  • Facebook-Auftritt der Universität Salzburg Twitter-Auftritt der Universität Salzburg Instagram-Auftritt der Universität Salzburg Flickr-Auftritt der Universität Salzburg Vimeo-Auftritt der Universität Salzburg